{Books}: 2012 Reading Challenge

Although my only book related List item is #3: write a book, which would be EPIC and of course a New York Best Seller, I love to read. I mean LOVE as much as I love wine, sleep, and sugar. As a young kiddo I would bring stacks of books to bed each night and when I was finished stuff them under my bed. Every week my Dad made me clean out all the books and put them back because there were so many!

In college like most people I know who love reading, take a break. Not from reading, but the ENJOYING it part. My reading life turned into thick chemistry textbooks, human anatomy study guides, and highlighter filled health binders. It took me about two years after college to pick up a book for joy. I believe I read a few all around the same time, A Million Little Pieces was one of them and I can’t remember the others. From that point on though I began to spend all my time and money go to the library and check out books to save money!

Over the past few years I have enjoyed reading tons of books in my book club-WNDC! We are a secret society, but we have a blog with all the books we have read. I typically keep track of what I am reading in addition on goodreads. On my recent trek over there I noticed the 2012 Reading Challenge and thought I’d give it a shot! I wasn’t sure what I typically read a year so I figured 20 was a good goal to set at not quite 2 books a month.

I hope to share some of my favorite books with you during this challenge and feel free to challenge yourself as well or even better offer me book recommendations!

I’m starting book two this week-The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes!

Post Script: I can’t count this towards my goal because I read them last month, but GO READ ALL OF THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES. NOW. BANANAS.

 

{Recipes & Books}: Little Bee and Honey Treats

So  I finally finished Little Bee by Chris Cleave who I meet in May and talked about in this post. And WOW!

For this special book club we meet with one of the gals in our clubs mom’s club too. Whoa. Did that make sense? Basically two book clubs meeting together for one book. Ha.

And since I am sooooo clever (I like to compliment myself and beat everyone else to the punch) I of course had to make an appetizer that involved the use of honey. Little Bee. Honey. Get it?! Oh I just crack myself up!

And since you are probably NOT laughing….

Here’s the recipe!

And whoops! I didn’t take pictures of it and I’m going to change up the recipe from what I actually made to what we decided would be better!

Honey Pear Nut and Cheese Crostini adapted from Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • Baguette ideally from a french bakery
  • Strong cheese of your choice-gorgonzola, brie or blue cheese
  • Pears
  • Walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, chopped
  • Good quality honey
  • Olive oil for toasting crostini

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Slice baguette at an angle in about 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces and line on a baking sheet. Brush olive oil on each slice lightly. Place in the oven from about 7 min or until toasted and golden brown. Slice pears into thin pieces. Spread cheese on each baguette, top with chopped nuts and top with sliced pears. Drizzle with honey and serve to hungry book club women!

So simple and delish with a lovely wine!

Cheers!

{Recipes and Books}: Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Yay! Another book club meeting and another delish recipe for the sunshine! (Which has seemed to be MIA)

We read a book written by the cousin of one of my fellow book club members A Crack in Everything by Vanessa Carlisle.

A short, fun, slightly stressful read-the main character has some issues and OCD stuff going on and also her first book! And I appreciated the health education stuff since I have a degree in Community Health. We were especially excited and honored to have the ability to use today’s technology to talk with Vanessa via Skype and actually ask the author questions!

Vanessa gave us some great responses to our sometimes ridiculous questions-How do I become a shoe model too? or Why is Bow so nice to her? and then the more normal ones like- Where did you get inspiration from for the different characters? or How did you been writing the story or why did it take place in one week? We were all smiles and giddy book nerds geeking out about the fact that we were talking to a real life published author. But we loved it! Thanks Vanessa!

By the way the FOOD was AWESOME. One of the best book clubs so far with our appetizer theme. I wanted something fruit and Spring like and I figured since you used ‘chips’ to eat the fruit salsa it could be counted as an appetizer and not a dessert!

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Sugar Chips from All Recipes

Ingredients

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 oz raspberries
  • 16 oz strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves
  • 10 flour tortillas-taco size
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon and sugar mixture

In a large bowl, mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, sugar and preserves. Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat tortilla with cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle wedges with cinnamon and sugar and spray again with cooking spray if desired.

Bake wedges in oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with additional tortillas and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve with the fruit salsa!

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a pizza cutter to cut the tortilla chips
  • To peel the kiwi cut it in half and use a spoon to cut around it slowly (Otherwise you’ll get kiwi juice all over your white shirt)
  • This could also be served as a dessert/salad without the chips if you desired!

Enjoy!

{Books}: Chris Cleave

I am so excited to start reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave for my next book club book especially after getting to meet him at the Seattle Reads Ballard Library event on May 14th.

Kelly C. and  I went even though we haven’t started the book yet. Last time I went to a book signing was for Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life and it was packed! So we decided to get there really early and situate our seats so we could get out and in line for the signing right away! We were both worried the book discussion might ruin some of the story for us…

Sorry for the grainy photos. I like to be sneaky and take random awful photos with my phone.

Some details were shared that Kelly and I tried to plug our ears for, but Chris Cleave is a well spoken, charming, and funny author and I enjoyed every bit of it! He shared stories about how he developed particular characters (I can’t wait to start reading about Batman!), family stories about alien spaceships, and about how he ends books (which was a fantastic answer about how he feels he doesn’t want to be the judge of how a story should or shouldn’t end).

From all of the author readings/signings I have been too I really enjoyed listening and talking with him. He captivates the audience with his accent and his public speaking skills without the umm’s and aaah’s, just a great story teller.

I didn’t have time to ask him my question, but we were third in line for the signing and he spent plenty of time talking with us that I felt bad for holding up the line and didn’t ask for a picture with him (I’m a book geek I know!). But he took time to talk to us and thank us for coming, about our book club (I invited him, but he said he’s moving that day ha ha!), and I asked him where he gets his inspiration for his stories-experience, travel, news, etc. It boiled down to a news story or something he’ll hear and find interesting or he is curious about or see a story in.

I had already purchased his second book too, with the feeling that I am going to really enjoy Little Bee so I had him sign both. Have you seen the cover art for his books? They are works of art themselves. (Let’s hope all this positive talk sticks once I read these…I’m sure it will!)

How nice is that? I’m so glad I was able to make this event and a huge kudos for Seattle libraries for always doing great events! I can’t wait to finish the book(s) and give you all a yay (hopefully not a nay). If Chris Cleave is coming to your town, you must go see him speak, even if you haven’t read the book!

What authors have you meet? Or other famous person??


{Books}: Water For Elephants

Have you read Water for Elephants yet?

If not I highly recommend this book! My book club read it about a year or more ago and all loved it! This week we went as a group to finally go see the movie starring Reese Witherspoon, who I like and that stupid vampire kid.

Side Note: potential spoilers ahead!

source

Reese’s dresses were beautiful! And the movie did a pretty good job of portraying the book, although it was really difficult to watch the animal abuse parts. My only complaint…Both vampire dude and Reese had more chemistry with Rosie the elephant then they did with each other.

Read the book. See the movie. Go to the circus. And I’ll be adding Ride an Elephant to my list.

{Recipes}: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Let’s talk about some serious pie making. It starts with this cute tea apron…

Add a french rolling pin, an amazing pie crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen (with great pie making tutorials), a BBQ themed book club for The Slap and you have your self a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie! (Please excuse the mess of silverware on the floor-it’s for a future craft project!)

This was my first attempt at lattice pie on the top and I did pretty well!

Unfortunately, the original recipe calls for a shorter baking time and although mine was golden it was too wet so I would opt for a longer baking time if you plan on trying it out!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices rhubarb (about 1.75 lbs)
  • 3 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled, halved
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.

Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 50 minutes (mine needed this and probably longer). Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

All Butter Pie Dough from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold

Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except butter. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces.

Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with a pastry blender until it is the size of peas.

Drizzle a 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water over the butter and flour mixture. Using a spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there. Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.

Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.

I can’t wait to try this crust with a blueberry filling! Happy pie making!


Score!

I had an awesome lunch today! My co-worker and I wanted to check out a mobile truck after chatting about some of the one’s around Seattle. On Thursday’s there is a Here and There truck by my office that I went to last week.

Yum! Sometimes the menu has stuff I’m not interested in, but last week it was good and they always have a great berry smoothie!

Today though we went to the Marination Station. Which to me the name sounds gross. Just like how the word moist is gross. YUCK!  Oh, but it was oh so good and cheap! It was raining all morning but luckily as we pulled up the sun came out and it warmed up. Good thing too because the line was about 30 people deep and around the corner.

I took a picture of the delish food, but of course the only photo that upload correctly was this one and I had already finished my Aloha slider and tacos.

After work I made a quick trip to Goodwill for a project I’ll share later and of course I looked at the books. (Because I really need more books?)

Ummm….Hello?! 99 cents each! And all of them were on my to read list at some point whenever I have time to read books other than my book club books and the other books I already own list.

Now to saddle up on the couch for some Bachelor. Okay. I never watch this show, but a girl I graduated with was on it and now I can’t stop watching because he sounds like Forrest Gump and I love that movie! 🙂

Who do you think is gonna win? And any mobile food trucks in Seattle you recommend?